The job of a clinical psychologist

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The job of a clinical psychologist

What the clinical psychologist does:

  • Work with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, relationship problems or behaviour disorders.
  • Dealing with an anger or withdrawal - people who are stressed or distressed and who are not going to be easy to deal with.

Examples of clients' issues include:

  • Difficulty in stablishing attachment or building satisfactory adult relationships
  • Mood disorders
  • Fears, phobias
  • Difficulties in dealing with a disability or dealing with death

Works in team and in the community - often part of a team (social services, doctors and community health works) focusing in one client.

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The job of a clinical psychologist

How does a clinical psychologist work:

  • Makes an assessment of the problem - they gather as much evidence as they can, which involves listening to the client and discussing their issues with them. They might also use observation of the client's behaviour and psychometric testing and standardised tests. They could measure level of stress, negative thinking or life pressures, for example.
  • Plans an intervention (some way of helping) - this can involve therapy, couselling or advice.
  • Evaluates the intervention - they keep records of assessments and interventions safely to maintan confidentiality. During and after an intervention the psychologist must review the situation to evaluate the success of any programme and to continue to support the client.
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The job of a clinical psychologist

Pratical problems - the NHS has limited funding  and different hospitals and institutions have a different focus on a clinical psychology department. This means that there is often not enough opportunity to explore issues with a client because the time of clinical psychology is limited (due to cost).

Training and research:

  • Training others, especially in the NHS where trainees are taken on regularly
  • Involved in research
  • They may have specialism, e.g. adults with head injuries

CPD and chartered status - a clinical psychologist must have a chartered status and have to maintain continuous profession development (CPD).

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Becoming a clinical psychologist

Who might a clinical psychologist work for?

  • NHS
  • Private practice
  • Universities
  • Self-employed

Work conditions - Normal working hours on Monday to Fridays, sometimes work evenings and weekends. Earnings can be £30,000.00 to £70,000.00 and varies when work privately.

Skills required:

  • Strong interest in healthcare, science and people
  • Listen, understand, reflect on the situation of others
  • Help with solutions
  • Understand diversity
  • Ask open questions
  • Able to look at own experiences and how these affect others
  • Strong communication skills
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Becoming a clinical psychologist

Qualifications required:

  • A BPS recognised degree in psychology
  • Relevant work experience
  • Doctorate course, which last 3 years and is full-time
  • Most people enter the profession by getting a job as a trainee in the NHS.

Chartered Status - to achieve it:

a professional must satisfy the requirements of the BPS, have sufficient qualifications and experience and have the backing of two people who are already chartered psychologists.

following a Conitnuing Professional Development (CPD) programme which requires logging work done, reading, training, etc. to competence.

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